How we chose the best chicken coops
Plastic chicken coops are really rising in popularity. They are easy to clean, with just a wipe of a damp cloth and disinfectant, and won’t face the same problems that a wooden coop would such as rot or needing protection from the rain.
Plastic coops are also more lightweight, able to be moved around to suit, such as into more sheltered areas at night or during the winter. They’re a personal favourite here at Petz, especially for beginners, so we tried to find the best plastic chicken coops for our list. The Omlet Eglu range is incredibly popular with beginners as they’re all-in-one.
If you do want a wooden chicken coop for a more classic, traditional look, try to pick one which is on stilts and can, therefore, be protected from the damp ground and potential damp issues. It will need treating regularly, using a chicken-safe coating. All of the wooden chicken coops we selected have reviews saying they’re easy to care for.
One thing we can’t control is how many chickens you have, and how much space you need. However, you should have at least three chickens according to advice, so all of those above meet these minimum requirements. But with four or more, you will need to look into getting a larger coop.
The general guideline is that you should give your chickens one-metre square per hen. Obviously, if you have a larger breed, you should increase this.
In the UK, free-range hens have at least 4 square metres per hen outdoors, and organic have at least 10 square metres per hen outdoors. This is important if you will be selling the eggs, but also for the welfare of the chickens. It is why chicken runs are also vital.
Many of the coops we chose come with small chicken runs, but we would always advise buying an additional large run if they can’t have free rein of your garden.
You may wish to choose a coop which has several different living sections so your chickens have some personal space. Remember that there are a few other things you will need to put in your coop too, which could mean you need to get a coop larger than first thought.
We also looked for chicken coops with a tray that will collect all of the waste within the chicken house. This way, it will slide out and you can just empty the dirt away, and give it a wipe before inserting again.
People are increasingly looking for something which is portable, which gives them the option to move it to a new area in order for your chickens to have a fresh foraging area and allow your grass to recover, or if they need to be more sheltered at night. These coops will often have wheels, and we took this into consideration when choosing our top picks.
Perhaps the main thing for most chicken owners, however, is that their coop must be fox-proof. Both urban and country areas have foxes, and chickens are a prime target for them. The wire should be strong and impenetrable and designed so a digging animal cannot burrow underneath. All of those we selected are advertised as fox-proof, but we would always recommend taking matters into your own hands and reinforcing the wire.